Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, a staunch critic of the Iraq war, is praising President-elect Barack Obama's move to keep Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the helm with two wars under way.
"It reflects President-elect Obama’s perspective that quality is a non-partisan characteristic," Levin said in a Monday morning statement. "Secretary Gates’ courageous actions in restoring a measure of accountability in the Pentagon is a critical component of the change that President-elect Obama was chosen to bring about."
Levin's support is critical because he will have the most direct relationship with Gates and other top military brass in the Obama administration. Levin seems poised to push a change in strategy in Afghanistan.
Gates will not have to be re-confirmed by the Senate.
“Finally, I would note that Secretary Gates has correctly stated that the conflict in Afghanistan should mainly be “Afghanistan’s war” and has stressed the need to accelerate the doubling of the size of the Afghan National Army, which is crucial to the defense of Afghanistan’s democracy and to stopping cross-border incursions from Pakistan," Levin said. "Those safe havens threaten the democracy in Afghanistan and threaten America.”